Friday, June 22, 2007

Starhub: You can't tell 5 digits from 6 digits!

Starhub has this new alert SMS thingy on their website where you can register for the service and get notified of shows by sms. I have yet to test it out, and not for the lack of trying. Here is what happened.

On the 13th of June, I went to the page where I was supposed to register , and this is what it said:

When you receive the 6-digit code, key the number into the box provided in the Security Code Confirmation page.

So I registered, and waited for the SMS which arrived promptly. Only problem was ...well see if you can spot what's wrong:

Tried the code, it didn't work. So I emailed the address that was stated on the same page. Got a response immediately. It was from the mail server informing me that the email address did not exist. Yup they actually put a wrong email address there for people to contact them with.

So I was forced to poke around the site to look for a valid email address. In the end I had to use the feedback form and explained that I only got a 5 digit code instead of a 6 digit one and also notified them that their email address on that page wasn't valid.

Got a reply the next day:
"We would appreciate it if you could retry as our test shows that it does sends out 6 digit code."

Which basically translates to

"The only problem here is that you can't tell 5 digits from 6 you f**king retard!"

I was a bit annoyed at the slight at my counting skills. And also by the fact that they completely ignored the part about having a wrong email address on their website. But hey, I am nothing if not patient, so tried it again and then sent them another email:

"Here is the screenshot of the sms I got in my phone. I tried it a few times
and it is still the same code. As you can see it is a 5 digit code."

The reply I got was that they have "informed the relevant department to look into the issue" and will get back to me as soon as they have an update.

5 days later, they got back to me:

"With regard to the My Alert sign up issue, our engineers have looked
into the problem you raised. Could you try signing up again and let
us know if you do not receive a 6-digit code on your phone."

So I did, and replied that I was still having the same problem. Here was their suggestion 2 days later:

"In order to remove the old copy of the My Alert pages previously stored on your PC, please clear the cache of your web browser using
these steps:
- Close all instances of your web browser
- Click on Start -> Settings -> Control Panel
- Select Internet Options
- Click on General
- Click on Delete Files, then check ''Delete all off-line content"
and click OK.
- Click OK to exit.

Please try again and advise if you are able to get a 6-digit code
after the above steps."

I took a deep breath, and tried their instructions. My reply:

"I tried the steps as you suggested. I still get a 5 digit number in the SMS sent to me on my mobile number.
I would think the problem is with the sms sending service (which is sending me a 5 digit number instead of 6) instead of my browser.
I have attached screenshots of how i register for the service, in case that helps."
(I attached 6 screenshots of the whole login process I went through)

Their reply:
"We are sorry to learn that you are still experiencing the problem. We
have escalated your latest update to our engineers for further
investigation. Rest assured that we will inform you as soon as we
have an update."

Finally today:

"Our engineers have advised to add 0 in front of 5-digit SMS code, in
order to get the 6-digit PIN for My Alert sign up, e.g. 044039"

My reply:

Thanks it worked!

And it only took 9 days. I wouldn't blame the helpdesk though, the engineers were probably the ones who couldn't be bothered. And it's nice that instead of fixing the issue that they just asked me to append a number in front. Maybe they should put a note on that registration page that says something like "If you get a 5 digit number, just append a zero in front".

Anyone else had similar experiences with Starhub?


  1. omg. my blood is boiling as i'm reading this. i can't believe u have the patience to actually deal with the matter. i wld have gone ballistic. and threaten to go postal on their asses.


  2. Ha yes I am known for my patience. I was telling myself that basically it was more of the engineers' fault rather than the person answering the helpdesk emails.

  3. I always think that the helpdesk guys are a helpful bunch. Very humble and willing to help if you ask things nicely. Many times when I called and problem could not be solve, the supervisors/technicians will call back. These are the people who are more difficult to handle. They can show their 'authority'. :)